The inauguration of King Philippe of the Belgians – Royal Central

By Michael Thaidigsmann – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

King Philippe took the Belgian throne after the abdication of his father, King Albert II, on 21 July 2013.

King Albert announced his intent to abdicate on 3 July, with his abdication taking effect on Belgium’s National Day.

The day began with the traditional Te Deum at the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula for National Day. The royals greeted the crowds assembled outside after the service before the abdication papers were signed.

Philippe was sworn in as King of the Belgians around an hour after his father signed the abdication treaty in front of Belgian government officials at the Belgian Royal Palace. Father and son then hugged after the treaty was signed.

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King Philippe took his oath in all three of his country’s languages (Belgian, French and German) at the Belgian Chamber of the Federal Parliament.

The oath consisted of article 91 of the Belgian constitution, where he said: “I swear that I will observe the constitution and laws of the Belgian people, preserve the country’s independence and guarantee its territorial integrity.”

Unlike the Japanese enthronement and Dutch investiture, no foreign royals attended Philippe’s ceremony. Only the Belgian government and the Royal Family were in attendance with the Belgian people.

King Philippe also addressed his people, explaining his goal for unity in Belgium: “The wealth of our country and our institutional system resides notably in the fact that we have turned our diversity into a strength. Each time, we succeed in striking the balance between unity and diversity. Belgium’s strength is precisely its ability to give meaning to our diversity.”

By mid-day, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde appeared on the Royal Palace balcony with their four children: Princess Elisabeth, Prince Gabriel, Prince Emmanuel and Princess Eleonore. They were greeted by crowds of people waving the Belgian flag and cheering their new monarch.

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The Royal Family also attended the civil and military parade in Brussels for National Day, and the new King paid tribute to the Unknown Soldier of World War I at Congress Column.

Belgium also gained their first Belgian-born queen on that day as Mathilde became the Queen consort of Belgium. Philippe and Mathilde’s eldest child, Princess Elisabeth, became the heir to the throne with the title the Duchess of Brabant. If she ascends the throne as expected, she will be the country’s first queen regnant.

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